Aug 3, 2016
Mocha is a place! It’s an ancient seaport in Yemen.Today it’s a shadow of it’s glory days, mostly sustained by small fishing operations and tourism, but at its peak, Mocha exported all coffee grown in Yemen – supplying a ever-more-thirsty Europe with incredibly sought after Arabica beans. Yemen boasted a particular variety with distinct chocolatey notes, and eventually, the word “mocha” became associated with the combination of chocolate and coffee flavors.
Mocha’s economy collapsed in the 18th century, and it was eventually swept aside by the construction of the Suez Canal. But the combination of chocolate and coffee lingered on, and in Italy, drinks that combined the two became popular. Bavereisa came first – pure chocolate was mixed into a cup of coffee and topped with frothed milk, and it was replaced during the 1800’s with bicerin. Bicerin comes in what looks like a small wine glass and boasts visible layers of chocolate and espresso, topped with whipped whole milk.
A latte – two ounces (or so) of espresso mixed with steamed milk – and chocolate. Most coffee houses use a syrup or powder, but some upper-tier spots still use pure chocolate, melted in with the espresso and blended to perfection.
Variations include: white chocolate instead of milk chocolate, combinations with fruit flavors (orange or raspberry being the most popular), and seasonal versions that add in a dash of peppermint or gingerbread flavoring.